Invests record $55 million in its infrastructure in 2013

The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) maintains its infrastructure to the highest standard in order to provide its tenants with first-rate facilities. It invested a record $55 million in its infrastructure in 2013, surpassing the previous record of $41 million set in 2009.

The new economic and trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, an increasing amount of traffic moving on transshipment services via the Suez and Panama canals, and opportunities in the dry and liquid bulk sectors are expected to bring more traffic to the Port of Montreal in the years ahead. And the port is well prepared to handle these additional volumes of cargo.

“We are continuing to work on projects to attract clients in all sectors of activity – containers, dry and liquid bulk, and cruise,” said Sylvie Vachon, the MPA’s president and CEO.

The port has increased its container-handling capacity by 13 per cent to 1.7 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit containers) by completely redeveloping land in the Viau and Maisonneuve sectors.

The Viau sector site is 16.5 hectares. Its annual container storage capacity stands at 150,000 TEUs following the redevelopment project. Railway tracks were relocated and sewer and water systems, lighting and the underground electrical network were redeveloped in order to fully optimize operations at the site. A soil recovery and reuse project employed a soil encapsulation technique that allowed the MPA to reuse 44,000 tonnes of poor soil that had been extracted at the site. The extracted soil was mixed with cement to increase solidity and then re-deposited at the bottom of excavated areas.

At the Maisonneuve sector, space for another 50,000 containers was added at the site. The port also built a new longshoremen’s hall and a new parking area and maintenance garage for equipment and vehicles used by longshoremen.

Transport Canada contributed $14.8 million to the Viau and Maisonneuve projects.

The Port of Montreal also owns land along four kilometres of waterfront at Contrecoeur, located about 40 kilometres downstream from its facilities on the island of Montreal. This land will be used to increase the port’s container-handling capacity once land on the island of Montreal reaches full capacity.

“Within the context of the new free-trade agreement with the European Union and transshipment opportunities via the Suez Canal, our vision to expand the port to our land at Contrecoeur takes on added significance,” Ms. Vachon said.

The Port of Montreal has also been working to develop opportunities in the liquid bulk sector. The port handled 9.55 million tonnes of liquid bulk traffic in 2013, its third-best year ever in this cargo category. “We are looking to increase traffic in this sector by taking advantage of opportunities related to the growth of Canada’s petroleum products industry,” Ms. Vachon said.

The MPA is redeveloping an area of the sector where petroleum products are handled, in accordance with an agreement it has with Valero Energy Corp. The MPA is repairing berths and berth walls and increasing berth depth at Sections 101, 102, 105 and 106. It is also extending the length of the berth at Section 102 so that it can accommodate larger vessels.

In the dry bulk sector, CanEst Transit Inc. will operate a new facility on port territory starting this summer that will specialize in the cleaning and containerization of agricultural products destined for local and international markets. CanEst Transit has signed a long-term lease with the MPA to operate out of the port’s former Grain Elevator No. 3 annex. The centre is scheduled to open July 15 upon completion of a $22-million modernization project, including the installation of new conveyors, scales and other equipment.